A mini Hardwick Hall

Our last day of the staycation saw us at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, another National Trust property. I have visited twice before but Mum and Ellen had never been. I particularly wanted Ellen to visit as the house was designed by the same architect as Hardwick, where she used to work and is a beautiful miniature version with an amazing textile collection. There are some historic rooms open but much of the public space contains the textiles collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

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Gawthorpe 2

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Rachel lived there from 1886 until 1967 and collected over 30,000 pieces of textiles, from all cultures and for all uses.

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She was an avid embroiderer and promoter of arts and crafts of all kinds which she taught to keep the skills alive.

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This small display of ecclesiastical goldwork reminded me of my visit to the Elizabeth Hoare collection in Liverpool.

Rachel believed that creativity had health and and social benefits. I like to think that she and I would have been very good friends if I had ever been able to meet her, she sounds wonderful. The collection is maintained by a charity and works with schools and local communities as well as stitchers.

I love this display of her desk in one of the rooms, her stitching is on the walls and in the drawers are all the sorts of things she would have used, I love seeing this very personal side of stitching and can imagine her writing articles for embroidery magazines and deciding on new projects here.

There were some very similar pieces to those in the Women Travellers exhibition at Bankfield Museum that came from Eastern Europe and Asia.

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The displays have changed since I last went about 5 years ago and there were so many wonderful pieces of whitework and lace on display.

These are two things I have never done but am fascinated by the delicacy of the work and think that the shawls and collars are beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to incorporate something like this into a Steampunk costume.

Another thing I loved were these hexagons that she had collected, they had been fussy cut and posted to someone, probably as gift.

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I think it is so exciting to see actual papers made of scraps, you can just imagine the sender making these and sending them to a special friend. There were also some hexagon needlebooks and you know how I love a good hexagon!

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Rachel’s personal rooms also contained this wonderful bed with crewelwork hangings, I am really looking forward to the day when I have a hand- made quilt on my bed, I have one as a work in progress but it will probably be a retirement project as have not touched it for about a year. Luckily fabric does not go off!

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There was also a display of contemporary embroidery inspired by the collection with some beautiful whitework pieces and silk embroidered birds and insects.

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This case of needle work tools was also inspired by the collection.

I have been embracing Rachel’s philosophy very much this week, we are right in the middle of marking season, with the added work on my doctorate and so it has been wonderful to sit and stitch in the evenings. I have been working on a table decoration for my Make do and Mend display and so have been quietly doing chain stitch while watching Netflix, very soothing after a hard day of thinking!

I have transformed a man’s shirt into a blouse for my display as well and am now busy working on other aspects, luckily both Jake and I have worn through socks recently so I will be able to demonstrate my darning mushroom and darning egg and I have just got a copy of a vintage pattern for making some patchwork slippers so that is my next project for the event.I am really enjoying the research for the event and have been doing lots of very interesting reading. I have also just won an auction on Ebay for some clothing and food ration books to add to my artifacts which I am very excited about. I will do a post all about that in a little while but my next post will be all about the Haworth 1940s event that Ellie and I are going to this weekend.

We are very excited, Howarth is such a cute village, home to the Bronte sisters and I have not been to this event before, though we have done a Steampunk one there a few years ago. The tablecloth jacket will have an outing as I have decided it is a great example of Make do and Mend and I will be putting on my false eyelashes and red lipstick for a bit of 1940s glamour. I am aiming for something like the gorgeous Gene Tierney here.

Gene-Tierney-makeup-1940s-

As with when we do Steampuk it always seems strange to be wearing make up and costume as I am so used to medieval re-enactment and shapeless clothing and all my hair covered. It will be lovely to be able to have a bit of 1940s style and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous outfits there.

Hope that you all have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

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Nunnington needlework

We had a great mini trip up North, the first place we visited was Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire, a lovely stone house dating back to the 12th century surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Not only was the house beautiful with lots of light and airy paneled rooms as the house has been displayed as it would have been in the 1920s, but there were also some wonderful examples of needlework connected to the family.

Firstly this Durham quilt, hand quilted by the last owner’s grandmother.

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Nunnington -quilt 2

Then these stunning Jacobean crewelwork panels in the bedroom, they have been restored by the Trust, mainly to mend the linen backing, but the colours are still wonderful even though they are faded.

Nunnington -crewelwork bedroom

Nunnington -crewelwork detail

Panels this size must have taken so long to make, they were originally made for a bed.

There was also a very pretty needlepoint chair cover and some samplers dating from 1785 and 1835 with the makers’ names on.

Nunnington -needlepoint

Nunnington -sampler 1

Nunnington -sampler 2

This is not a good picture of the sampler due to the low light but here is a better one from the National Trust Collections site here. It was stitched by 10 year old Betsy Pickard in 1835 as a firescreen and is beautifully done.

Another thing that I really liked were the little cross stitched signs, someone has been working very hard to theme the information given.

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Nunnington -label 2

There was also some very impressive other needlework that I will share with you in a later post, I absolutely loved it and it has given me an interesting challenge that I will share with you then.

Today will be mainly finishing off items for Yarndale, I have a basket and needlebook in progress and there is always more embroidering of sheep to be done!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Just a little something to brighten my day :-)

Hello everyone

As I told you in the last post I was very good, (well for me!), at Harrogate and only bought a little bit of the gorgeousness that was available.

As always I love seeing the fabric and this year particularly the thread stalls, the colours of the displays are so lovely, little rainbows of stitchy delight.

I had hard time choosing what to buy, I wanted some more threads as I am enjoying my rediscovery of embroidery, thanks to the wonderful designs from Jenny.

I managed to find some more of the Cath Kidston style fabric, not in blue but in a coordinating pink and bought some  Perle threads to go with it.

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I bought some more embroidery thread from the bargain bin at Stef Francis, all this for £4.

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And look at this beautiful fabric from Higgs and Higgs, bet you can’t guess what I might make with this.

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And I was really pleased to find a stall with 5 fat quarters of one of my favourite Christmas fabrics ever so I bought all of it and a lovely gold print. I still have a couple of the quilted balls to make so this will be very useful.

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I also stocked up on more red and green silk thread, all of the thread came from West End Embroidery, a company I have not seen before and they had a brilliant selection of speciality threads so I have added them to my favourites.

I also bought some more Christmas ribbons from my favourite supplier, The Ribbon Box. Several of these are new designs and all so pretty!

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And I bought charms, I can’t resist charms and though I was really looking for more keys for my Steampunk outfit came away with these lovely embellishments and some more little charms for stitching gifts.

These were all from a Dutch company called Creatotaal who had an excellent selection.

Harrogate K and S 2015 purchases

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Although I have enjoyed my year of quilting I have a bit of sciatica and that limits the amount of machine stitching I can do but not the hand embroidery, I have spent lots of enjoyable afternoons sat on sofa stitching and watching TV.

I really value this time on my own, many of the blogs I read are written by women with young children who are combining their craft with family life and I remember those days very well.

One of my favourite New Year holidays was when my children were staying with their grandparents and it snowed very heavily, forcing all plans to be cancelled for going out and I sat and stitched and watched films for two whole days.

It was bliss, much as I love my children that amount of, ‘me’, time was so rare then and I can now do that every weekend so I am very lucky 🙂

I think 2016 will be my year of embroidery, I would like to also explore more crewelwork and goldwork as there are some patterns that I have been wanting to work on for a while.

It is also easier on my hands as I am still having some problems with tendonitis and arthritis which limits my knitting, I am falling apart at the moment 😉

I have been particularly interested in the work of two designers, one of whom was exhibiting at Harrogate.

Nicola Jarvis does the most exquisite crewel work designs, some inspired by William and May Morris, many of birds, combining different types of stitching to produce gorgeous and very unusual work such as this blackbird from her website.

Nicola Jarvis - Blackbird

I bought a tea towel featuring some of her designs, am planning to hang it in the craft room as it is far too pretty to wipe things with and would love to work on some of her things next year.

Harrogate K and S 2015 Nicola Jarvis

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Another crewel work designer I love is someone I found through a link from a blog,(miracles of the internet!) an Australian called Anna Scott who does really bright and beautiful interpretations of traditional crewel work flowers.

I am planning to buy one of her designs from her Etsy shop  after Christmas once I have finished the ornament stitching, she does PDF downloads which is very helpful. The only thing is I can’t decide between all the loveliness that is there.

Am very tempted by this one…

Anna Scott Crewel Work 2

Or this one ….

Anna Scott Crewel Work

So many brilliant stitching opportunities, we are so lucky to have all these lovely designers out there and the miracles of the internet to be able to look at their work and buy it!

I am working on the last few of my Jenny of Elefantz Christmas ornaments at the moment and have also been stitching one of her beautiful birds in some of my new thread.

I am combining the thicker Perle thread for the outline with single and double strands of silk for the running stitch and lazy daisies.

This is such peaceful stitching and so fast to complete. I always seem to take ages to do things but her designs are very easy to do and look so pretty.

Jenny Purple bird 1

All good and I am now feeling very happy that my colourful Friday purchases have gone to small businesses and designers and for things that makes people happy more than once, me when I buy it, me when I use it and the recipients of the gifts I make.

Hope that you have a very nice and colourful week ahead whatever you are doing, thanks for visiting and see you soon.